The Jesuits (Society of Jesus)
In the XVI and XVII Centuries, the Society of Jesus promoted Uniatism
the Orthodox lands of Eastern Europe; the bitter fruits of the seeds then
are still being harvested today. When the Jesuits were suppressed by the
in 1773, Catherine the Great allowed the Society to maintain its
in Poland, then part of the Russian Empire, presumably as a bargaining
dealings with the West. The emperor Paul
continued this policy; it is conceivable he intended to take over the
make it into part of the Orthodox Church in the same way that he tried to
take over the Knights of Malta. However in 1820, the Jesuits were expelled
from the Empire by Alexander. Anti-Jesuit writings of Western origin found
natural readership in the Orthodox East, and the sinister figure of the
many times in Orthodox and Eastern European literature, for example in
the novels of Dostoyevsky. Often "Jesuit" was used as a generic term
"Roman Catholic religious", as in the story of the martyrdom of St. Peter the Aleut.
Jesuit missionary activity also had an impact on Eastern Christians
on the St. Thomas Christians of India
and on the
In spite of the predominantly negative character of Jesuit-Orthodox
it is worth noting that in several respects the Society's traditions
actually resemble Orthodoxy
more than do those of many Roman Catholic organisations. This applies
the controversy between the Jesuits and the Jansenists: although Pascal
is the source
of much anti-Jesuit material quoted or recycled by Orthodox writers, it
Jesuits he accused of semi-Pelagianism and anti-Augustinianism who were
to the Fathers on the main theological issue of the day.
St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
apparently saw things to admire in Jesuitism; he not only translated
Lorenzo Scupoli's Spiritual Combat, but also the Spiritual
Exercises of Ignatius himself. At least in the case of
Scupoli (I have never seen a copy of his edition of Loyola),
St. Nicodemus made extensive Orthodox additions and revisions
while retaining the core of the Jesuit text.
Norman Hugh Redington
RELATIONS (Modern Era):
Past, Present, and Future.
Talk given by the Jesuits' Father General in 2002.
--- SJ Web
Jesuits come to the aid of the Orthodox.
News story from The Tablet, 1997.
Describes an offer by the Jesuit Refugee Service to
sponsor Orthodox priests ministering to the Serbian
minority in Croatia.
Return to St Pachomius Library.